10th February 1940 Whitley K7255
Sandy Lane, Boars Hill.
This aircraft took off at 21.45 from
RAF Abingdon on a circuits and landings exercise. The pilot requested permission to land on a low circuit and having been
granted and acknowledged the aircraft struck trees at the top of Sandy Lane on Boars Hill and crashed into Stockwell Field
and burst into flames. It is thought that the pilot P/O Orley Whitney Bligh was the first Canadian to be killed in WW2
and is buried in Abingdon cemetery in Spring Road.. The other pilot Sergeant Frederick Dupe was also killed but another crew
member AC2 R T Casson survived the crash.
29th April 1941
Whitley P4939 Sandleigh Road, Wootton.
Taking off at 1.15 in the morning on circuits and landings exercise. The aircraft got into a nose down position
after take off and then pulled up sharply, stalled and dived into the Sandleigh Road playing fields. The playing fields are quite small and completely surrounded by houses as they are today. The pilot P/O Leonard Bradburn
and the other three crew were all killed.
28th JULY 1941
Whitley T4323 Wootton Village
The Whitley took off at 2.15 in the morning on bombing practice. From the accident
record card it seems that the aircraft overshot the airfield turned to the right and hit trees in the Boars Hill
area then crashed in to the rear gardens of the white council houses in Wootton. In 2006 PJM interviewed Mrs Hensridge
and her mother (nearly 100 years old) who were living there at the time of the crash. Mrs Hensridge pointed out just
where the bomber crashed through her back garden killing her pet rabbits. All five crew died including two Canadians.
19th September 1941 Whitley
T4132 Boars Hill
On a routine training flight this aircraft crashed on to the Oxford side of Boars
Hill and burst into flames. The exact location of the crash is at the time of writing unknown. As a result of this crash red lights were erected on the two extremities of the Boars Hill ridge.
25th September 1941 Wellington Z8354
Sandy Lane, Boars Hill
In the early hours of the morning the above aircraft
crashed into Stockwells Field, Sandy Lane. There were a crew of six, all were killed in the crash. This crash has been
perhaps the better known of all incidents in this area during WW2. Firstly the aircraft crashed in almost the same place
as Whitley K7255 did in 1940. This aircraft was not from this area but from the overseas delivery unit at RAF Hampstead
Norris near Newbury. The plane was on its way to Malta. It is not clear why the aircraft was in this area as it would
seem that it was not on that route. The accident report states that they had lost an engine and were circling to land
at Abingdon. The crash crater can still be seen to this day just in side the field in Sandy Lane. The crash made the national
press when a young German man who was living nearby filmed the wreckage and was arrested for allegedly for spying
and was deported. A detailed eyewitness report is in the book ` A BOARS HILL ANTHOLOGY` by Margeret Aldis
and Patricia Sims. The writer visited the crash site in 2006 and found two parts of the wreckage.
11th February 1942 Whitley N1439 Upwood
This Aircraft took off at 21.29 for night circuit training
only to crash a minute later, coming down in Upwood Park , Besselsleigh on the
A420. The aircraft burst into flames and three of the crew died. The record card states that the cause of the crash was
an error of judgement on the part of the trainee pilot. The fourth member of the crew Sgt D E Hughes was
taken to the Oxford Radcliffe Infirmary recovered and survived the rest of the war.
26th March 1942 Hampden AE139 Wootton
At 4.30 pm this aircraft crashed into the wall of the
church.. Three of the four crew died. The aircraft took off the day before from its base at RAF Balderton
in Nottinghamshire for an operational Nickel sortie( dropping of leaflets) over Rennes in France. Details of the mission are
unknown but on its return the aircraft landed at RAF Stoke Orchard near Cheltenham. The next day the aircraft took off to
return to base. From the Accident record card it states the aircraft had a faulty fuel gauge and ran low on fuel. It seems
the aircraft was attempting to land at Abingdon. From information gained from the late Mr Denis Betterton from Sunningwell
who actually witnessed the crashed plane he confirmed the following. The plane
was coming from an easterly direction towards the church, its engines cut and hit the then high trees on the east side of
the cricket field slid across the ground , turned turtle and smashed in to the wall. The repair can still be seen today just
to the right of the church gate. Mr Betterton as a young boy recovered some of the leaflets from the plane of which
he had kept for over 65 years and presented the PJM with one. The writers mother Christine Minns who is buried in the same churchyard
was actually pushing his brother in a pram to see her mother in law in Wootton Village when she had to turn back due
to the aircraft lying across the road. The writer also interviewed a lady who was playing on the swings when the plane
crashed right next to her.
1944 Whitley T4337 Besselsleigh
The aircraft took off on circuits and landings practice and crashed in flames almost
immediately on what was the firing range on Great Park Farm. The pilot lost control of the aircraft when changing from the flair path to instruments. All the crew of three died. A interesting
report of this crash is attached to the RAF Abingdon record book. It was subject to a heroic rescue attempt by two American
soldiers and Mr Ronald Amey who lived nearby. The soldiers would have been billeted in Besselsleigh Park prior to the D-Day
invasion. The pilot a Canadian Sgt D C Adamson is buried in Botley (Oxford) Cemetery.
18th May 1945 Wellington
This was the last accident in the Wootton area
during WW2 although there were two more Wellington incidents on the airfield during
1946 before the unit was disbanded on 10th September 1946.
aircraft lost power on the port engine after take off and found it impossible to gain height coming down in a field
in Lambororugh Hill next to the Waterworks by the Cornerhouse Garage. There was only one crew on board a 23
year old F/O R J Angell who was unhurt in the crash but the plane
was a write off.
Interesting final note, the crash site was
1/2 mile from the authors bungalow and it happened on his 2nd birthday.